Conservation agent reminds hunters dumping deer carcasses is Illegal in the St. Louis region

News from the region
Saint Louis
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St. LOUIS, Mo.—During this time of year when Missouri’s deer hunting seasons are in full swing, Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) conservation agents receive and investigate many calls reporting illegal dumping of deer carcasses. 

“Agents get a lot of calls from concerned citizens who either find a dumped deer carcass or witness someone in the act of dumping a deer carcass,” said MDC St. Louis Region Protection Captain, Scott Corley.  “If you observe this taking place, it’s always best to be a good witness and provide as much information as you can such as vehicle and description of the person, along with full or even a partial license plate number,” said Corley.

A person commits the offense of unlawful disposition of a dead animal in Missouri when they knowingly place or cause to be placed the carcass or parts of any dead animal:

  • Into any well, spring, brook, branch, creek, pond, or lake; or
  • On any public road or highway, river, stream, or watercourse or upon premises not his or her own for the purpose of annoying another or others.

According to Capt. Corley, the offense of unlawful disposition of a dead animal is a class C misdemeanor.

Not only is the dumping of a deer carcass or its parts illegal, but it could also contribute to the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).  Most counties in MDC’s St. Louis Region are part of a CWD Management Zone, and these have special deer carcass movement restrictions.  Visit to find out more about these specific counties and the restrictions.

CWD is a neurological disease fatal to deer that is spread by miss-sharpen proteins, called prions.  Even though infected, a deer may not show signs of the disease for as much as 18 months.  The only way to confirm the presence of the disease is through post-mortem testing.

Even parts from CWD-infected deer can spread the disease. Long after infected carcass remains decompose, prions stay infectious in the environment, possibly exposing other deer to CWD.

Capt. Corley said hunters should take the following steps when disposing of deer carcass parts, which can help prevent CWD and other diseases from spreading:

  • Place in Trash or Landfill: The best way to prevent the spread of CWD is to place carcass remains in trash bags and dispose of them through trash collection or a permitted landfill.
  • Bury on Site: If hunters can’t bag and place in trash or a permitted landfill, they should bury carcass remains at or near where the deer was harvested. Bury deep enough to prevent access by scavengers. Burial will reduce but not eliminate the risks of spreading CWD.
  • Leave on Site: As a last resort, leave carcass remains onsite. While this will not prevent scavengers from scattering potentially infectious parts, the remains will stay on the general area where the deer was taken. If CWD is already present on that area, it will likely remain there and not be moved to another area.
  • Do Not Place in Water: It is illegal to dispose of carcasses or remains in streams, ponds, or other bodies of water.
  • Do Not Burn: Only commercial incinerators reaching over 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit can generate enough heat for long enough to destroy the prions that cause CWD.

“Hunters, taxidermists, meat processors, and others can slow the spread of CWD by properly handling deer parts,” Capt. Corley said.

To report illegal dumping of a deer carcass or any other illegal hunting activity like poaching, the public should contact their local conservation agent, or call the Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-392-1111. 

“Practice these deer carcass disposal measures, be courteous and respectful of others, and let’s all have a safe hunting season,” said Capt. Corley.